Monday, July 01, 2013

That’s One Tough Mudder!

The Tough Mudder Challenge. It’s the world’s premier obstacle course race, a grueling test of strength, endurance, and heart. Keith Miller and all eight friends were tough enough to attempt – and finish – Tough Mudder Colorado on June 15 at Beaver Creek Resort in Avon, CO!

This vigorous crew entered the Tough Mudder not only to prove their mettle, but also to benefit Wake Up Narcolepsy and narcolepsy research. Keith’s son Nathan is living with the condition, thus the team name “Nathan’s Mudders.”

“Tough Mudder was definitely the most physically challenging thing I have ever done,” says Keith. “I loved it so much that I will definitely be doing it next year! And the entire team were pleased to support WUN with our sweat, exhaustion, and funds raised.” 

Thank you to all who have donated! It’s not too late to lend your support at

And of course kudos and thanks all you Tough Mudders for gutting it out!

Read Keith’s gripping narrative and view lots more great photos of the event at

Keith Miller is pastor of Missio Dei Fellowship Church, in Westminster, CO.

Have a local narcolepsy awareness event in the works? WUN is eager to help you promote your efforts. Contact Ken McDonnell at or 774-364-4965.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Narcolepsy and Social Security Disability Benefits

Guest Post
By Ram Meyyappan

Social Security Disability

When you file an application for Social Security Disability benefits, your application will be reviewed by a representative of the Social Security Administration (SSA). During this review, the representative will check to make sure you meet some basic program criteria as well as check to see if your condition is listed in the SSA's Blue Book. The Blue Book is a publication put forth by the SSA that lists all of the disabling conditions that could potentially qualify an individual for disability benefits as well as the criteria that must be met in order to qualify under each specific condition.

In the case of narcolepsy, there is no specific listing for the condition. Because of this, those who review cases based on a diagnosis of narcolepsy will often see if the individual who is applying can qualify under the listings that address epilepsy. If your narcolepsy results in frequent sleep attacks, your condition may qualify under Section 11.03 of the Blue Book. This is the section that addresses non-convulsive epilepsy. To qualify for benefits under this Blue Book listing, you must be able to prove that:

  • You have at least one episode of narcolepsy per week;
  • Your condition must persist in spite of at least three months of treatment; and
  • Your episodes have a significant effect on your ability to perform day-to-day activities.

You will need to provide the SSA with medical evidence when submitting your application proving that you suffer from the above-listed criteria in order to be approved for disability benefits. This means providing the SSA with detailed medical records including clinical histories, treatment histories, lab reports, and written statements from your treating physicians. If you can prove that you qualify for disability benefits under Section 11.03 of the Blue Book, your chances of being awarded disability benefits during the initial stage of the application process will be greatly increased.

You can get more information on Narcolepsy and qualifying for disability benefits here: 

When applying for Social Security Disability benefits, there are two different programs under which you may qualify: SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) or SSI (Supplemental Security Income). 

To qualify for SSDI, you must have earned enough work credits in addition to proving that you qualify medically for disability benefits. Generally, to have earned enough work credits, you must have worked five of the past 10 years. If you are not old enough to have a 10-year work history, you must have worked half of the time you could have worked since turning 18. For example, if you are 22, you must have worked two of the past four years in order to have earned enough work credits.

If you have not earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI, you may be able to qualify for SSI. Unlike SSDI, SSI is a needs-based program. This means that you must meet certain income and asset restrictions in order to qualify. As of 2013, you must earn no more than $710 per month as an individual or $1,066 per month as a couple in order to qualify for SSI. You must also not have more than $2,000 in assets as an individual or $3,000 in assets as a couple in order to qualify for SSI benefits.

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits
To apply for Social Security Disability benefits due to narcolepsy, you can apply either online at the SSA's website ( or in-person at your local Social Security office. When you submit your claim for Social Security benefits, whether you are applying for SSI, SSDI, or both, you need to make sure you submit enough medical evidence to prove that you meet the above-mentioned medical criteria. Also make sure that you fill out the claim forms in their entirety and with very detailed answers. The answers you provide will help the representative reviewing your case determine whether or not you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Once you submit your application and the supporting evidence, it will take approximately three to six months to receive a decision regarding your disability claim.

What to Do in the Case of a Denial
If your application for Social Security Disability benefits is denied, you have 60 days from the date of the denial notice to file an appeal. The first stage of the appeal process is the Request for Reconsideration. It is important to note, however, that chances are that your first appeal will be denied. The SSA approves fewer than 20% of reconsideration requests.

The second stage of the appeal process is when you will have your greatest chance of overturning the SSA's decision to deny your disability claim. This is the stage of the disability hearing. During this hearing you will present your case before an administrative law judge. It is in your best interests to retain the services of a disability attorney for this hearing. Statistics have proven that applicants who work with a disability attorney are more likely to be awarded benefits than applicants who represent themselves. This is likely due to the fact that disability laws can be complicated. 

Your disability attorney will be able to help you understand why your initial claim was denied and can take measures to gather additional evidence to support your claim. He or she will also be able to represent you before the administrative law judge at your hearing.

Note: From time to time WUN posts blog entries written by third parties for the benefit of our readers.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Tonight's the night!

We can't wait for our third annual Wake Up Nashville! evening dedicated to narcolepsy awareness! All are welcome. We're honoring people with narcolepsy with free admission; $25 all others. Tickets available at the door.

Come join us for an evening of the best of Nashville's renowned musicians, great fare, and lots more, including this year's Wake Up Nashville! songwriting contest winner.

The Bridge Building
2 Victory Avenue
Downtown Nashville
7 PM

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Monica Gow Reports…

On June 18 I represented WUN at a gathering hosted by John Hancock Insurance, the lead sponsor of the 2013 Boston Marathon. This was a great opportunity for me to describe WUN's mission to raise narcolepsy awareness and fund research. David Gow, who raised over $38,000 for WUN, was honored as one of this year's top fundraisers through the John Hancock Boston Marathon charity program. 

The get-together was held at the Red Sox' Fenway Park just before the Sox hosted Tampa Bay. Final score: 3-1 Sox.

Pictured above: Yours truly and marathon legend Bill Rogers at the gathering. A four-time Boston Marathon victor, Bill says he plans to run again in 2014.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Nicole Qualifies for the LPGA US Open!

Guest Post
By Nicole Jeray, LPGA Golfer
May 16, 2013

It’s not easy to qualify for the US Open. A lot of players for only a few spots and the venue of 36 holes in one day. That’s 9-10 hours of golf with no break. Very difficult for me since I have narcolepsy and I’m not as young as most everyone else.

Since I just played 3 LPGA events in a row including 14 straight days of golf, I chose not to play a practice round. Elkridge Club in Baltimore, MD, was hilly and tricky. Others thought I was crazy to play the US Open Qualifier “blind.” But I knew I needed my energy for the tournament and I also have a lot of faith in my boyfriend/caddie, Jody Keepers. Jody walked the course while I got the rest I needed. Since he is an experienced caddie and knows my game very well, I knew I could rely on him to point me in the right direction. My priority was to have enough stamina to play 36 holes in order to perform the best I possibly can.

The next morning our tee time was 8:10. Unexpected traffic and a train made us extremely late. We finally arrived at 7:45, just enough time to put my shoes on, hit a few putts, and walk to the tee. By the 5th hole, it started to rain and didn’t stop until we were done 9 hours later. At times it was a torrential downpour and other times the rain was very light. I fought with my rain jacket all day and opened and closed the umbrella at least a dozen times.

First round, I shot 71, with an eagle and a birdie. Looking good so far, but my left knee was starting to hurt and my legs were already tired. I was concerned about my next 18 holes in this awful rain and with heavy legs. Needless to say, I made it through all 36 holes and played good enough to get a spot in the US Open. I finished tied for 6th place with scores of 71,72. Yippee!!!

The Women’s US Open with be played at Sebonack GC on Long Island, NY, June 24-30.

Note: From time to time WUN posts blog entries written by third parties for the benefit of our readers. Follow Nicole’s 2013 LPGA season on her blog at And please consider a donation to WUN through Nicole's Swinging for Sleep campaign.

Monday, June 17, 2013

This Is the Week to Wake Up Nashville! 

It's the Bridge Between Light and Dark, our third annual Wake Up Nashville! event for narcolepsy awareness. June 21 at 7 PM, at the handsome Bridge Building in downtown Nashville. Learn all about what's in store from Music Row's Bob Saporiti, our host for the evening, and Dr. Kelly Carden, of the Middle Tennessee Center for Sleep Center here:

A limited number of tickets are still available at